Russia vs New Zealand
Date: Saturday, 17th June 2017
Kick-off at 16:00 UK/ 17:00 CET
Venue: Krestovsky Stadium (Saint Petersburg).
The 2017 edition of the FIFA Confederations Cup kick-off with hosts Russia welcome New Zealand to the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg on Saturday evening, 17th June.
The Russian football team is in a transition period post to the poor showing at the Euro 2016 in France. The new coach Stanislav Cherchesov has prioritized in building a team for the World Cup in 2018, which has resulted in omitting a number of veteran players. The Berezutski twin brothers Vasili and Aleksi are among the casualties for the same reason, while Artem Dzyuba Alan Dzagoev and Roman Neustadter lost their places due to poor forms for the national side.
The men in Red are coming on the back of a 1-1 draw against Chile, which helped them extend their unbeaten run to 3 games. From some poor results in 2016, Russia made a vast improvement in their performances which is evident in their 3-3 draw against Belgium earlier this March. They also defeated Hungary 3-0 in a friendly warm-up game in June.
New Zealand has a perfect opportunity to test their metals against some of the biggest teams in the world, something that don’t come their way in majority of the time. However, the team managed by English born coach Anthony Hudson was off-color in the recent friendlies, losing to Northern Ireland and Belarus by 1-0 margin.
Moreover, the Whites have a poor history at the Confederations cup after failing to register a win in previous three appearances. They lost 8 of their 9 games in the competition so far and managed to score just 2 goals.
Russia Team News
Stanislav Cherchesov named the strongest possible squad. He has no injruy concerns and is expected to name his best eleven to start the competition with a win.
We are likely to see a 3-5-2 formation rather than the 5-3-2 set-up deployed in the friendly against Chile.
Russia Predicted Line-up (3-5-2)
Kudryashov, Vasin, Shishkin – Kombarov, Glushakov, Golovin, Gazinsky, Samedov – Smolov, Poloz.
New Zealand Team News
The big absence in the New Zealand squad is West Ham defender Winston Reid, who miss the tournament with an injury. This left Hudson with a back-four short on experience.
The team also lacks quality in other departments of the field, with most of the responsibility depending on the Leeds United striker Chris Wood. The 25-yead old is coming on the back of a fine season in which he scored 27 goals from 44 Championship games.
However, the player to match is Melbourne Victory play-maker Marco Rojas, who has some tricks in his feet.
New Zealand Predicted Line-up (3-5-1-1)
Marinovic – Smith, Durante, Boxall – Doyle, Lewis, Thomas, McGlinchey, Colvey – Rojas – Wood.
Russia vs New Zealand: Head-to-head
This is the first meeting between the two sides in all competitions,
Russia vs New Zealand: Prediction
New Zealand were seen struggling to find the back of the net in the recent two friendly warm matches they played early in the month. Russia could be lethal at home, especially when they are coming with a squad of players who are eager to make a mark to cement their places. Moreover, the visitors record in this tournament is on the lowest possible point, which could also affect the players in finding any confidence.
This is a big stage for both teams, but Russia are more accustomed to the situations. Therefore, a home team can be backed with eyes closed, which indeed is a banker bet.